In our digitally advanced world, graphic designers are becoming more necessary than ever before. Think about all the logos, packaging, and branding you come across on a daily basis. Modern businesses truly depend on graphic designers to help them make a good impression in the marketplace. If you’re a creative person with an eye for design, becoming a graphic designer might be the right path for you. For those who are interested, here’s how to become a graphic designer.
What Does a Graphic Designer Do?
Graphic designers are responsible for taking ideas and turning them into visual concepts via computer software. They create a range of content in various materials – from brochures to advertisements to magazines to billboards and everything in between – striving to captivate their audience into buying a product or service. Graphic designers tend to be employed in marketing agencies, publishing firms, companies that offer virtual assistant services, and specialized design service companies. However, many graphics designers are self-employed.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Graphics Designer
While graphic designers spend a lot of time using computer software to create graphics, they have a lot of roles and responsibilities beyond the actual art itself. A typical day in the life of a graphic designer includes:
• Discussing budget, requirements, and timelines for any given project from a client.
• Determining the proper size and arrangement of illustrative material for designs.
• Managing proposals from the very beginning design phase all the way to print and production.
• Reviewing rough drafts and revising with edits and/or changes as requested from clients.
• Working with third-party vendors, such as printers, to ensure material is printed in a quality manner.
How to Become a Graphic Designer
Like any career, becoming a graphic designer takes some hard work and determination. If you’re seriously considering becoming a graphic designer, here’s a few steps to take:
1. Start with Your High School Diploma
While you’re attending high school, make sure you’re taking classes related to graphic design, such as art history, graphic arts, and various other art-related classes. You should also try to join extracurricular activities, such as producing the school yearbook, that will help prepare you for your career in graphic design. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure you achieve your high school diploma.
2. Earn a Degree
As graphic design becomes more competitive, it’s helpful to have a degree in the field. Sure, you’re able to find freelancing work without a degree, but having one will certainly give you a competitive edge. Typical coursework will cover:
• Web design
• Principles of design
• Marketing and/or advertising
You can earn your degree online or at a school that offers graphic design courses. Be prepared to spend at a minimum, a few months, at a maximum, four years working towards your degree. Here are your options when it comes to earning a degree:
• An online certificate will often take a few months to a year to complete. This will be helpful if you are looking to freelance or start your own graphic design business.
• An associate’s degree will often require a two-year program, and if combined with an excellent, well-maintained portfolio, you will be able to find a career in graphic design.
• A bachelor’s degree will often require a four-year program with 120-180 credit hours of classes. You will have an advantage over those with an associate’s degree.
• A master’s degree will often require a two to three-year program to complete. Those who complete a master’s degree will have more opportunities for advancement in their career field.
3. Create a Portfolio
A portfolio, which is essentially a collection of previous work, is vital for any aspiring graphic designer. Make sure you’re collecting all your best work, and aside from having a physical copy, carry a digital copy on a flash drive or CD as well. Consider taking part in any internships offered through your college program. This will give you practical experience, work for your portfolio, and some professional relationships.
4. Gain Work Experience
Work experience is a crucial part of becoming a graphic designer, especially if you’ve decided not to pursue a degree of some sort. Look for entry-level artist or assistant positions that give you experience. You can also volunteer for local non-profit businesses or small organizations. Ask for letters of recommendation as payment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers earn a median annual wage of $48,700 (based on 2017 data). Graphic design employment is expected to grow 4% between now and 2026. It’s a great career, especially if you’re artistic and you enjoy being challenged with new tasks every day. Now that you know how to become a graphic designer, you can start taking the necessary steps to enter and be successful in this field.